Garden City 16th after three rounds at NJCAA Championships

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Melbourne, FL-Garden City golf coach Phil Terpstra walked around with a quiet confidence following the second round of the NJCAA National Championships. Why? With the loaded field, the veteran head man was thinking a top-12 finish.

And while they did slip on Thursday, the Broncbusters are very much alive in that department, thanks in large part to George Avgousti.

The sophomore tallied his best round of the tournament, and perhaps the entire season, dropping in four birdie putts and carding a team-best 1-under, 71, moving him to 2-over for the tournament and into a tie for 32nd. His team is sitting in 16th place at 26-over par.

“I got off to a really good start today,” Avgousti said. “I had three birdies in six holes. I slipped a little bit, but kept strong on the back nine.”

Avgousti was 3-under through nine holes. He bogeyed 10; parred 11, 12 and 13; then bogeyed 14 before chipping in for birdie on 15. He parred the next two before closing the day by missing a short put on 18, which he eventually bogeyed.

“I’m really happy with my round,” Avgousti said. “I played solid golf. I concentrated pretty well, and had some long birdie putts.”

Meantime Vincent Wilhelm continued his steady tournament, shooting a brilliant 2-under par in which he birdied three of the final nine holes. The only blemish on his card, at least down the stretch, was a bogey on 19 where he, like Avgousti, missed a putt for par that would have dropped him to 3-under for the tournament.

“I felt pretty good with my putting today,” Wilhelm said. “I just had a good feeling getting up and down.”

Wilhelm shot even par on the front, which included birdies on three and nine. He fought back after a pair of bogeys could have easily derailed him.

“I struggled a little bit with my irons today,” Wilhelm added. “I just didn’t hit them cleanly.”

Jake Bay has had a Jekyll and Hyde tournament, shooting 9-over on day one followed by an even-par 72 on Wednesday. But Thursday wasn’t kind to Terpstra’s No. 1 golfer. He bogeyed five of his first nine holes and added two more two putts on the back. His only saving grace was a birdie on 11, as the former Shattuck star finished the day 6-over. He’s 15-over for the tournament.

Shaydon Johnson had his struggles as well, bogeying six holes (three on the front and three on the back). He finished 4-over for the day, while Euan McBride had a nightmarish back nine, dropping a quadruple bogey on 13 and a double on 15. He was 11-over on his final nine holes and finished plus-13 for the day.

Indian Hills is in first place at 29-under, holding a one stroke lead over Central Alabama.